IN FULL: Full planning details agreed for £27m revamp of Barnfield College

A £27m project to redevelop the Barnfield College campus in Luton - partly funded by some housing - has been agreed in detail.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 12:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 12:12 pm
Full planning details have been agreed for the £27m revamp of Barnfield College

Plans for 104 homes on the New Bedford Road premises were submitted by applicant Taylor Wimpey, on behalf of West Herts College.

A mix of 68 three-bedroom, and 36 four-bed and five-bedroom houses are proposed with the majority being two-storey, according to a report to the borough council's development control committee.

There will be 244 allocated parking spaces, visitor parking for 36 vehicles and storage for 104 bicycles.

Some of the properties will make use of the roof space, effectively becoming two-and-a-half stories in height, said the report.

The ten-acre site consists of some of the college buildings and part of its playing fields, with a strip of land denoting an access route to Barnfield Avenue.

Councillors approved an outline scheme for up to 110 properties in October, and the reserved matters have now been approved.

West Herts College wants to demolish some buildings and provide new educational accommodation with an access.

The proposal also includes a central area of public open space within its 15-acre campus.

There will be improvements to the grassed area parallel to New Bedford Road and a sports area marked out.

There were 17 objections and one comment made about the planned development.

These included opposition to more housing and congestion in the area, flooding concerns, extra noise and pollution, and loss of playing fields.

Other reasons were increased pressure on local schools and GP surgeries, insufficient parking and overlooking.

"The layout has ensured that it avoids any loss of privacy to residents of properties on Kingsdown Avenue and provides suitable separation distances of about 42m through lengthy back gardens," added the report.

"The main access to the site will be from Barnfield Avenue, while a new football pitch will be provided on a former playing field.

"This is intended for community use outside college hours, but no floodlighting or changing rooms were proposed.

"The housing element is to partially fund the proposed redevelopment of the Barnfield College campus for education purposes.

"External funding is being sought from the Local Enterprise Partnership alongside any capital receipts generated by the release of the land."

Parking on site was reduced to encourage other means of travel, such as cycling and public transport.

The linear park will provide a new footpath through the site, while access through to Kingsdown Avenue will be reintroduced for cyclists and pedestrians only.

The work on campus was due to be done in two phases, with a further two stages planned at a later date, it was explained in October.

"Future proposals would provide teaching accommodation for construction and engineering students, but would be subject to a separate planning application.

West Herts College principal Gill Worgan said previously in a statement: "The proposed residential development provides up to 110 family homes.

"It enables the delivery of a new state-of-the-art further education college, which will teach the modern skills local people and businesses need.

"This scheme is critical to the delivery of the new college, otherwise the construction would be unaffordable."

Councillors approved the detailed plans with five votes in favour, none against and two abstentions.